The show was at Q’s Rangatira Theatre on Queen Street. The set is quite monochrome and moody and there was much excitement leading to the start, and be warned it opens with a BANG!
Its not the musical that you know from the movie, its so much more! This production has taken the story to a whole new level, it’s unforgettable and breathlessly amazing.
The three main and well known actors were all outstanding, they were supported by an ensemble cast of amazingly talented burlesque dancers/singers who played the scantily clad prisoners and other chorus characters. Lucy Lawless (Velma Kelly) was dressed to kill when she first stepped onto the stage, she was superb. The show was stolen by Amanda Billing as Roxie Hart, she was fabulous and was more devious and cruel than I was expecting. Not forgetting Shane Cortese who played the slimy perma tanned Billy Flynn with the perfect amount of sleaze, he appeared to be enjoying his role more than anyone else on stage. I was particularly impressed with the voice of Andrew Grainger who played gullible Amos Hart, his voice made the whole theatre vibrate. He played the character with such sympathy and heart, it brought tears to the eyes. There were lots of hilarious moments too, especially the exits of the two men. One of the most memorable characters was the hilarious and increasingly drunk Tallulah who played her role with glorious abandon, arriving periodically on stage to pass opinion, narrate the show and tap dance. Total respect must go to Colleen Davis who played Mama Morton. Unusually she was younger than the prisoners in her care, her tremendous singing was perfect even when she was being wheeled around on a trolley in her sky high heels.
We had previously seen the ATC production of Cabaret at the Spiegeltent a few years ago, the creative team behind that was also responsible for this production of Chicago. We recognised some of the actors from that production and it was great to see such a talented and attractive group of performers. The “Cell Block Tango” was memorable for its use of the very buff actor as the victim of all the crimes, not sure how he has managed survive bruise-free, he was shot, beaten, stomped on and then hung upside down and swung over the heads of the audience during the song. In the song “Both Reached for the Gun” the chorus used inflatable adult sex toys with black tape over their naughty bits (and over some missing limbs!) The inflatable dolls represented the journalists at the trial and were used as dance props memorably and effectively.
It’s a show for adults, there was lots of risque costumes, raunchy dancing and smoke…..lots of smoke. We thoroughly enjoyed Chicago, we couldn’t believe that a show that was over 2 hours long roared along so quickly.
We have been subscribers to The ATC for a couple of years now and to have this year’s season finish on such a high has guaranteed a subscription to the soon to be released 2014 season. I cannot wait to see what they will do next year.
Massive thanks to Jill Marsh for her inspiring review – we’re off to book tickets now!